before instagram

La Bodeguita Del Medio | Havana, Cuba

Isn't it funny? Now that technology has overcome most of the technical difficulties that were so hated back in the days of film and analogue cameras - e.g., vignetting, lens barrel distortion, scratches, e.t.c., technology has also given us ways to re-ruin the photos to make them look like 'back in the day'.

Every year around about this time, I usually do some digital housekeeping. That involves cleaning out hard drives and consolidating photos from various locations.

This was when I stumbled upon some photos taken 'way back'. No, these are not film photographs, but rather digital ones taken on my first iPhone - the iPhone 3 GS. I was hit by a cold wave of nostalgia tantamount to looking through an old box of photo prints discovered in an attic. I kid you not.

Havana, Cuba

Havana, Cuba


Not only were these photos quite lo-fi, thanks to the 3 Megapixel camera and tiny sensor, but I took them using the Hipstamatic app.  This was when the app first came out, so it was very primitive. And then, there was no Instagram in sight. [ I tell you, Instagram stole Hipstamatic's lunch]

So Instagram is like Elvis Presley.  Hipstermatic is like that starving artist that performed his/her song in a little bar down the road where Presley's agent first heard it. This was probably why I initially disregarded Instagram as a copycat pretender. Well, that was a big mistake wasn't it? I could've become an "Influencer" and quit my day job to sip lemonade in the Seychelles.

Frozen canal | Amsterdam, Holland


I get it. If you're old enough to have actually shot film, then perhaps you get this 'feeling' from actual old film photographs. Perhaps also using an app like Hipstermatic makes you think of the good old days. If, however, you were born after the digital revolution, what 'feeling' are you getting? Why were Instagram filters so appealing?

Piccadilly Line | London Underground


I think it has to do with romanticising the past, like we all do.  Making an otherwise cold, near-perfect snapshot one step closer to the classics.

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